10/8 | Friday Five x DoorDash: Latinx Muralists from L.A.
Our city is a canvas — a place for muralists to uplift the voices of their community through art. The City of Angels has been renowned as one of the world’s great mural capitals for years, and Latinx muralists have always been an integral part of that history. Through their cultural experiences, Latinx muralists have given life to once defaced walls with imagery that expresses the history, concerns, and aspirations of their community. In celebration of Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month, here are five local Latinx muralists that you should know!
Angel City’s Friday Five series is presented by DoorDash.
Photo via @pintora.ksan on Instagram
Kristy Sandoval is an accomplished muralist from Pacoima who uses her art to bring awareness to social justice issues. As an arts education advocate, Sandoval also uses her art to develop programming for organizations like Casa Esperanza. In 2015, Sandoval was the first woman to participate in the Mural Istanbul Festival, and in 2016, was recognized by the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies at Cal State University Northridge with the Phenomenal Woman Award. Her efforts also helped kickstart Pacoima’s Mural Mile — a living gallery of over two dozen murals extending three-miles on Van Nuys Boulevard.
Photo by Michael Patchen via @leviponce on Instagram
Born to a sign maker and seamstress in Pacoima, Levi Ponce has always been exposed to art. Some of his earliest influences include his father, Hector Ponce, whose work appears on many storefronts in Pacoima. After earning a B.A. in 3D Animation, Ponce began painting and organizing the creation of murals in Los Angeles with the goal of celebrating and empowering the people in his community. With the help of other local artists, Ponce was able to transform the once defaced city walls of Pacoima into works of art now known as Mural Mile. One of Ponce’s most notable murals is “Rushing Waters” — a 10,000-square-foot mural depicting the northeast San Fernando Valley’s history, culture, and landmarks.
Fun Fact: Ponce recently collaborated with DoorDash on their campaign titled “Somos Boyle Heights” — a celebration of the people and culture of Boyle Heights, one of the oldest Latino neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Alongside Marlene Solorio, Hector Arias, and the Kalli Arte Collective, Ponce had a hand in creating custom murals that blend together art and technology. Visitors are encouraged to scan a QR code upon arriving at the murals to learn more about their history and the people who created them. You can watch the “Somos Boyle Heights” short film here.
Nuria Ortiz (Ms. Yellow)
Photo via @msyellowart on Instagram
If you’ve ever seen Angel City FC out in the streets, chances are you’ve seen a piece of Ms. Yellow’s art on our van, Jade. Born in Long Beach, Nuria Ortiz (Ms. Yellow) started using art at a young age as a form of self expression. “I really had this passion since I was like three years old,” Ortiz told NBC Los Angeles. “I started graffiti when I was 12 years old, and from then on, I didn’t stop.” Ortiz’s work largely centers on themes such as culture, unity, and social justice and can be found beyond the streets of Los Angeles. To date, her artwork and murals have been on display in the United States, Spain, France, Mexico, and Egypt! As a muralist and educator, Ortiz is dedicated to mentoring the youth in her community and empowering women, for whom art can serve as emotional therapy.
Photo via @therobertvargas on Instagram
Rounding out our list of local muralists is Robert Vargas. Born and raised in Boyle Heights, Vargas is largely known for putting a spin on the classic genre of portraiture. Whether he’s sketching a quick portrait or tackling a 14-story mural, his work has been a leading creative force in the revitalization of Downtown Los Angeles’ art scene. To commemorate Vargas’ ongoing impact on our community, Los Angele City Hall recently proclaimed September 8 as Robert Vargas Day in the City of Los Angeles. Moving forward, Vargas hopes that this day will inspire young creatives to fulfill their own dreams.
Sergio D. Robleto
Photo by @sergileto on Instagram
Sergio D. Robleto is an educator and muralist who uses his art as a platform to uplift the voices of our communities. Growing up, Robleto recalls being inspired by his family and the art found in the local skateboard, graffiti, and surf scene. Today, Robleto is most notably known for his collection of murals seen in the community of Boyle Heights. One mural that stands out is “Orale! Let’s Cruise on Over to Progression, Aye!” commissioned by the owners of First Street Pool & Billiard. The piece pays tribute to David Botello and Wayne Healy — two pioneers of the mural movement from the 70s and 80s.